Once again I hear your footsteps on the gravel, coming home to me after you have been with her.Only you are not coming home to me. You are coming home to the space six inches away. My heart beats faster, loudly. I pray that you will not hear the thunder echoing from the hollowness of my chest. Perhaps tonight you will not talk to me. Perhaps tonight you will not tell me that I asked for it. Perhaps tonight you will not say that I made you do it, that all of this will stop and that I have the power to stop it. Perhaps tonight you will not remind me that this is all a game designed to coerce me into bending to your will and making the choice that is no choice.

Your hand is on the door. My eyes are closed. I force my breathing to slow. I will my heart to slow its beat. The curtain slides away, then the weight of your body presses down on the bed. Once again you are six inches away. Close enough for me to feel your presence. Close enough for me to feel the warmth that is no warmth. Close enough for me to know you are there withholding touch, knowing that for a woman like me it is beyond torture.

I try not to think about what you have been doing with her night after night. I try not to think about the anguish that slices through me every time I watch you walking by with her and stepping up into her camper three doors away. I try not to think about the hours you spend alone with her. I try not to cry so you will not hear my sobs and ridicule my pain. I try to focus on my breathing, forcing it into slow and steady, silent tears roll down my cheek that I dare not wipe away. I wait for the slow deep breaths that alert me to your slumber, so I can attempt to relax.

Then I roll over, hugging my arms about myself, safe for this night from the verbal assault to my psyche. Yet, I will not sleep, because the words still hang over me like threatening storm clouds. Your words which I can not erase. I can only pretend I do not feel them as I wait for your axe to drop. It is only a matter of time...

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